Steph Houghton, Former England Captain, Announces Retirement

Steph Houghton won 121 caps for the England women's team. The 35-year-old defender hopes to see out her career by winning the Women’s Super League 2023-24 title with Manchester City

Steph Houghton will retire at the end of the season. Photo: Richard Sellers/PA

Former England captain Steph Houghton has announced her intention to retire at the end of the season. (More Football News)

The 35-year-old defender, who won 121 caps for the Lionesses, hopes to see out her career by winning the 2023/24 Women’s Super League title with Manchester City.

Houghton began playing for Sunderland in 2002 and also represented Leeds and Arsenal before moving to City 10 years ago.

She made her England debut in 2007 and last featured in 2021 as injury ruled her out of the title-winning Euro 2022 squad.

She said on her official website: “There is no easy way to say it, but I am retiring from football at the end of the current WSL season.

“Taking the decision to retire, is such a difficult thing to do. Whilst age comes to every player, it makes it no easier having to say the words out loud. Football has been my life; my passion and I have loved the career I have had.

“I would like to thank every team-mate I have ever played with, I have continued to learn every day and appreciate the support each has given me and the friendships I have made along the way.

“To my managers, coaches and all the staff that I have worked with and under, I appreciate the time, effort and work you have dedicated to improving my game and the standards of women’s football.

“It has been an honour and a privilege to represent Sunderland, Leeds Utd, Arsenal and to have been on the incredible journey that I have been on, with Manchester City over the past 10 years.

“I will always be humbled to have made so many domestic appearances, to have captained my country and to have represented England and Team GB in so many international tournaments. I will always be very proud of everything that I have achieved in the game.

“I am excited for whatever comes next but, in the meantime, I remain focused on giving everything I have left for Manchester City, over the next two months.”


Houghton is gunning for a second WSL title with City, having also won the league twice with Arsenal.

City head coach Gareth Taylor said: “Steph is – without question – an icon of the game. Although her professional career on the pitch is now coming to an end, her legacy will be felt for so many years to come. She’s paved the way for so many to thrive in the future.

“Steph has lived and breathed football for such a long time, and she leaves it in the strongest place it has ever been – a true testament to her leadership, hard work, talent, and dedication.

“I feel incredibly privileged to have been able to work with her since 2020 and know her name will be written into the history books as a true footballing great.

“Steph will excel in whatever she puts her mind to, and on behalf of everyone here at Manchester City, I’d like to express our immense gratitude and wish Steph all the very best for the future.”